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Most of the time Visual Studio seems to work fine. But occasionally, it gets into a funky editing state. I can still type, but I can't move the cursor with the arrow keys. The arrow keys instead seem to take the focus off the editing window. The backspace doesn't work, but the delete key does. The only solution I have found so far is to close all open documents and reopen them.

Is this a bug, or one of those invisible "features" that just seems a lot like a bug? If not a bug, is there a way to toggle out of this state? Otherwise, is there a fix or patch for this?

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migrated from Jan 21 '12 at 13:54

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

Plenty of feedback reports about this at I stopped reading them after a while, nothing definite and lots of users that abandoned their case. Maybe you'll have more energy. – Hans Passant Dec 21 '11 at 0:16
How did you find them? The search terms I was using turned up nothing useful. – benekastah Dec 21 '11 at 21:32
I typed "backspace" in the search box. – Hans Passant Dec 21 '11 at 21:33
I had this too, it turned out to be a plugin that was out of date (ReSharper) – Eric Herlitz Jan 17 '12 at 19:42
Cool, let us know the result! – Eric Herlitz Jan 19 '12 at 19:07
up vote 18 down vote accepted

This seems to happen to me when I open a solution and there are files already open. I used to close the files, then close and re-open the solution to fix it, but now I just hit Alt + Enter.

Here is the blog where I found this trick.

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Awesome. This totally did it! Much easier than closing and reopening my windows all the time. Thanks! – benekastah Mar 30 '12 at 18:33
+1 This is a time saver – Adrian Sep 21 '12 at 18:28
+1 saved my life – doge Nov 18 '13 at 9:28
thank you so much!!! I was always reopening file windows every time this happen before I saw this. – artsylar Sep 2 '15 at 1:53

i'm still seeing this issue even after the ALT + ENTER.

However i did notice if i had more than one window open if i clicked into each file then attempted backspace, eventually it worked on one, and then I seemed back in a working state.

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It's hard to believe I'm still having this issue in 2016 (VS 2015), but here I am. Switching documents, closing the problem doc, then opening it again took care of it. Thanks! – RobertB Mar 25 at 16:08

Any of the above solutions didn't work for me. However after much trial and error I found out that if you restart VS and load or create another project, followed by opening the trouble project again, it works.

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I also found this is to be the case when a modal dialog is present, even if it is not visible. You might check if VS has some alert dialogs in the background. Closing them returns to normal state.

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